Update 3/28: Following Newegg’s flub on Friday, Intel today is now (finally) officially announcing the Core i9-12900KS. The company’s new flagship consumer desktop chip will be going on sale next Tuesday, April 5th, with a recommended price of $739.

In terms of specifications, Newegg’s posting has turned out to be spot-on, with a maximum turbo clock of 5.5GHz and an all-core turbo clock of 5.2GHz. As were the 150 Watt base TDP and 241 Watt turbo TDP. All of which stands to make this Intel’s fastest consumer desktop chip yet, and one of the more power hungry.

It should be noted that Intel typically lists their chip prices in quantities of 1000 units. So while Intel’s official $739 price tag is lower than the $799 price in Newegg’s initial listing, it’s very likely that the retail price for the chip will land near or at $799 anyhow – though we’ll know for sure come April 5th.

Finally, availability for the i9-12900KS should be better than past Intel special edition chips (e.g. 9900KS). In our conversations with the company, we’ve learned that the goal of the 12900KS is to be more available than previous editions. It’s still a super small part of Intel’s overall Alder Lake offering (we’re hearing it’s a sub 1% of all chips can achieve Intel’s metrics for it), but the internal goal at least is to make sure it’s on more shelves this time.

The rest of the original story, updated with final figures and prices, follows below.


March 25th

Long expected from Intel, the Core i9-12900KS is now out of the bag thanks to an apparently accidental listing from Newegg. The major PC parts retailer listed the unannounced Intel chip for sale and began taking orders earlier this morning. pulling it a couple of hours later. But with the scale and popularity of Newegg – as well as having the complete specifications posted – the cat is now irreversibly out of the bag.

The Core i9-12900KS, where the S stands for Special Edition, pushes the standard 12900K to new frequency highs. The processor is in an 8P+8E configuration, with the key data points being the 5.5 GHz Turbo frequency across two cores, and 5.2 GHz Turbo frequency across all cores – and like the other K parts, with sufficient cooling this chip has an unlimited turbo period. Given the extreme clockspeeds, this is going to be a ‘thin-bin’ part, which means that Intel is going to need to do extra binning to bring these processors to market in sufficient quantities with the characteristics determined by the bin.

Intel 12th Gen Core, Alder Lake
AnandTech Cores
P+E/T
E-Core
Base
E-Core
Turbo
P-Core
Base
P-Core
Turbo
iGPU Base
W
Turbo
W
Price
$1ku
i9-12900KS 8+8/24 2500 4000 3400 5500 770 150 241 $739
i9-12900K 8+8/24 2400 3900 3200 5200 770 125 241 $589
i9-12900KF 8+8/24 2400 3900 3200 5200 - 125 241 $564
i7-12700K 8+4/20 2700 3800 3600 5000 770 125 190 $409
i7-12700KF 8+4/20 2700 3800 3600 5000 - 125 190 $384
i5-12600K 6+4/16 2800 3600 3700 4900 770 125 150 $289
i5-12600KF 6+4/16 2800 3600 3700 4900 - 125 150 $264

Compared to the regular Core i9-12900K, this new processor adds +100 MHz on the E-core and P-core all-core turbo frequencies, but +300 MHz on the top turbo. Meanwhile base clockspeeds are going up slightly as well, to 2.5Ghz for the E-cores and 3.4GHz on the P-cores – though given the high-end nature of the chip, the 12900KS is unlikely to spend much (if any) time not deep into turbo.

TDPs have also gone up slightly to support the higher clockspeeds; while Turbo power remains at 241 W, base power is now 150 W, up from 125W for the normal 12900K. Rounding out the package is support for DDR4-3200 and DDR5-4800, and integrated UHD 770 graphics.

Intel has launched ‘Special Edition’ models before. The most recent was the Core i9-9900KS, an updated version of the i9-9900K. The KS was the first model to have 5.0 GHz across all eight cores, however supply was limited and it was hard to get hold of. Though in our conversations with the company, we’ve learned that the goal of the 12900KS is to be more available than previous editions. It’s still a super small part of Intel’s overall Alder Lake offering (we’re hearing it’s a sub 1% of all chips can achieve Intel’s metrics for it), but the internal goal at least is to make sure it’s on more shelves this time.

Some of the 12900KS details were leaked even before today's quasi-launch, with some commentary about how this extra frequency is readily available on the standard 12900K with a little overclocking. The difference here is the guarantee of that frequency without needing to overclock – the same argument as it was before with the 9900KS vs 9900K. To a number of users, that’s a useful guarantee to have, especially with pre-built systems and system integrators.

Intel’s main competition comes in the form of two AMD processors. For overall multithreaded throughput, the existing 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X remains AMD's top chip. Meanwhile on the gaming front, competition comes from AMD’s forthcoming Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which is an 8 core processor with an extra 64 MB of L3 cache to help with gaming. AMD is claiming +15% gaming performance over the Ryzen 9 5900X, and 0.98x to 1.2x over the 12900K at 1080p High settings, so it will be interesting to see how they compare. Neither Intel nor AMD have access to each other’s chips right now, so a direct comparison using both sets of data is likely to be inconclusive right now.

Top Tier Processor Options
AnandTech Cores
P+E
P-Core
Base
P-Core
Turbo
L3
MB
Base
W
Turbo
W
Street
Price
i9-12900KS 8+8 3400 5500 30 150 241 $739
R9 5950X 16+0 3400 4900 64 105 142 $590
i9-12900K 8+8 3200 5200 30 125 241 $610
R9 5900X 12+0 3700 4800 64 105 142 $450
R7 5800X3D 8+0 3400 4500 96 105 142 $449
i7-12700K 8+4 3600 5000 25 125 190 $385

With street pricing on Intel's existing i9-12900K already running at about $610, Intel has upped the ante even further on pricing for the new special edition chip. Officially, Intel is listing the i9-12900KS at $739, and this is almost certainly the company's usual 1000 unit bulk price. Newegg's early listing, on the other hand, was for $799. And while pricing is subject to change (with high-end products it's often decided at the last minute), Newegg's initial price is likely to be at or near the final retail price of the chip once it is released.

Assuming for the moment that Newegg's price is accurate, the $799 price tag represents a further $189 premium for the higher-clocked chip. Suffice it to say, Intel isn't intending this to be a bargain chip, but rather is charging an additional premium for the chart-topping clockspeeds.

What is interesting for gamers is that while Intel has decided to turbo-charge its high-end processor, AMD beefed up one of its mid-range instead. Which means there's a pretty significant price disparity here, reflecting the fact that Intel's top gaming chip is also their top chip for overall multithreaded processing. So depending how performance plays out, Intel may pull off a win here in gaming, but it probably won't do much to move the market share (or dissuade 5800X3D buyers).

It should be pointed out that based on our research, the 12900KS is not a reactionary measure to the AMD chip. AnandTech has seen documents showing that the KS was part of the processor list during Alder Lake development, but has required extra time to mature and finalize – so much so that we wrote up a version of today's article months in advance, expecting an earlier announcement/release date. So Intel's plans up to now have been in flux, and while the company is certainly not above raining on AMD's parade, they also have other ambitions with their 16 core heterogeneous processor.

At the time of writing it's not clear when the i9-12900KS will be formally released. Newegg's early posting had a "first available" date of March 10th, so it may be someone was off by a month there (Update: Intel has announced an April 5th launch date). But we can’t wait to get these chips in for testing.

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  • Shmee - Sunday, March 27, 2022 - link

    I agree that performance testing should be done with better quality RAM, there is no point in using lower speeds when there is a capable XMP setting available. Also, reviews should include OC details on RAM and the scaling in performance. It is too often that reviewers don't cover tweaking well enough.

    That said, I do have a lot of respect for Ian and I know that AT really needs more quality reviewers.
    Reply
  • Mike Bruzzone - Monday, March 28, 2022 - link

    Alder 12900KS volume, total production? We can look at Coffee Refresh, 9900KS total unit volume over 9th gen full run is 0.16% and 9900K is 41.03% and all of i9 9900_ is 42.95%. Pursuant Alder, 89% of channel available continues to be i9/i7 and all else is simply fall out from sort.

    Mike Bruzzone, Camp Marketing
    Reply
  • ThirteenthDominion - Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - link

    9900KS total unit volume over 9th gen full run is 0.16% and 9900K is 41.03% and all of i9 9900_ is 42.95%

    That is interesting Mike, I didn't think the previous KS was such a low volume product. How many 9900KS and 9900_ units were produced?

    Also, there's the Xeon E-2288G that was siphoned from the same pile of chips. Do you know how many of those were made?
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - link

    I came really close to buying a Xeon E-2288G. That was when I'd first come to accept that I'd been priced out of the true workstation (i.e. Xeon W and TR) market. Reply
  • Mike Bruzzone - Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - link

    @ThirteenthDominion,

    Good question "how many 9900KS and 9900_ units were produced". I have the base data to determine the answer but that can take several days so I'll give you my quick take.

    Traditionally Intel desktop runs are 60 M to 90 M units annually. But at Rocket S it's down around 28M units, for the reason no one wanted Rocket as an Intel place holder and there was at the time plenty of Comet S surplus in the channel. Also moving into Alder Lake S made prior gens moot unless sticking with Comet stability at a clearance sale price on Windows 10.

    Right now, I believe Intel desktop S is produced in half runs; 30 M Rocket then + 30 M Alder = 1 run + 30 M Raptor = 1.5 runs (however the whole Alder/Raptor run) and where in this example Alder Ramp volume mirrors Raptor run down volume think isosceles triangle. Solely my thesis currently I've seen this Intel production behavior in the past associated with cost optimization.

    The way the volume answer is determined takes Intel volume statements associated with specific product categories, Gelsinger's second half 2021 Tiger mobile volume statements for example. Compares that stated 'Intel known' to an unknow on channel supply volume, to come up with a proximate unit volume. The exercise compares to ebay by generation supply data that are offers for sale as a proxy; testing through peak, through run down, over some set amount of time in weeks that can look at the ramp or through any annual period, basically, more than one time period comparison as check.

    So I've been comparing ebay offer data from the known Tiger 2021 mobile supply volume against the unknown Coffee Refresh volume in this example for four hours and realize this is a week's long puzzle to address.

    I can also turn to Intel supply signal cipher data 2005 through 2012, where Intel and associates gave quarterly 'by category' supply volume' in data bits, relying on a disintegrated story problem recomposed gave the volume answer and that's among the longer exercises. Again, compares a stated known product generation volume in this example on Intel supply signal against unknowns on channel supply data.

    What can I do here quickly?

    On Gelsinger Tiger mobile volume on channel data comparison what is 9th gen? Gelsinger said 100 M Tiger mobile sold in 2021 and gave that in three chirps at 50 M through q2, 70 M through q3, + 30 M or 100 M total through q4 and my result is 100 M Tiger mobile confirms 52 M Vermeer in 2021.

    After which the Tiger Mobile v Coffee Refresh presents an anomaly. The anomaly is that Coffee Refresh ebay offer data presents a huge volume much large than Comet and I need to go back and compare it with Kaby, Skylake and Haswell.

    Canalys says 75 M desktop in 2019 and 52 M in 2020 and 60 M is 2021 eyeballing the available bar charts.

    IDC says 65 M to 74M desktop in 2019 and 50 M in 2020

    Coffee Refresh desktop 9th enters the channel on 6.30.18. Begins with Pentium and Celeron that is unusual and top bin i9/i7 does not really show up in the channel until October 2018.

    Comet desktop 10th enters the channel on 5.16.20. Shows 9th generation is produced at least for 18 months and 9th does show two production peaks on 9.21.19 and again on 11.1.20 that is higher and a sustained block of product. I'd say 9th is easily 140 M units so 9900K = 57,419,964 that is a one Intel traditional desktop run and the single threaded is for the enterprise security vulnerability 1HT only enterprise Office buyer so 60 M 9900K makes since for enthusiasts and then 9900KS = 2,239,141 units. 3 M units is not unusual for an Extreme Edition run.

    9th might be 160 M units but that would be high, however, Intel does produce certain generations for longer than thought, longer than addressed by the commercial analysts on 1st tier OEM input that hides volumes and its apparent over 30 years especially pursuant Xeon total generation volumes.

    Specific Coffee Refresh 9th desktop you can then apply the channel percent grade SKU split against my 140 M quick take of the commercial analyst volume that I know does not represent and falls well short Coffee Refresh total production.

    9900K = 41.03%
    9900KS = 0.16%
    All i9 = 42.95%
    All i7 = 15.2%
    All i5 = 28.59%
    All i3 = 6.95%
    Pentium = 2,8%
    Celeron = 3.48%

    But that standard method, comparing against commercial analyst annual desktop statement, in my opinion right now, won't give the actual answer where Coffee Refresh is a huge volume run produced well beyond the PC OEMs Canalys and IDC get their by vendor and total volumes from, for any one year. Coffee Refresh is at least two Intel full desktop runs and the second of two peaks ramps parallel Comet ramp into Comet's volume peak.

    My best quick take on four hours of data examination.

    mb

    .
    Reply
  • Mike Bruzzone - Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - link

    @ThirteenDominion, I'll get back on more data, still working on this Coffee refresh quandary and I'll add this as a to do for an update in my current SA desktop slide set that is not finished yet. I'm now thinking its less than 140 M but more than 80 M . . . I need to do the whole exercise. The main issue with many Intel generation's is that once commercial analysts stop recording for any one generation in its so called production year; 12 to 18 months, Intel still keeps making the prior generation parallel the next generation and those units are not being recorded by the commercial analysts querying first tier OEMS because their primary production has moved on, however, the channel data continues to capture the parallel generation's production. 2286G is pulled from Comet and these 'Xeon E' runs are meager in relation their Core desktop volumes. mb Reply
  • Mike Bruzzone - Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - link

    ThirteenDominion . . . bingo!

    I've figured it out just took the rest of the day, it's as I suspected originally, 9th gen Coffee Refresh is 128,655,096 to 137,556,418 units of production and I need to get back to GPU Today that got pushed to tomorrow. I'll have this desktop assessment posted on my SA blog spot showing unit volume for Haswell through Alder by week, June 2021 through2021 shortly. mb
    Reply
  • Mike Bruzzone - Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - link

    Whoops that's June 2012 through February 2022. 9900KS = 2,058,482 units and 9900K = 52,787,186 and for either product volume range high +7%. mb Reply
  • blppt - Monday, March 28, 2022 - link

    I'd love to get one of these, but apparently people with the regular 12900K are having trouble keeping these cool under load (non AVX), even with top line AIO water cooling.

    Can only imagine the nightmare this one is going to be.
    Reply
  • Mike Bruzzone - Sunday, April 10, 2022 - link

    ThirteenDominion inquired how many 9900KS were produced in unit volume for a potential 12900KS volume comparative. 9900KS is 0.016% of 9th full run volume.

    This was my last best result on channel supply data assessment. 9900KS = 2,058,482 units and 9900K = 52,787,186 and for either product volume range high +7%.

    My current thesis is 9th Coffee Refresh full run volume is likely range 128,655,096 to 137,556,418 units of production. My final full run volume is 118,349,737 units, plus end run contract completion (tie) sales reward? That gets to my thesis range high?

    Find three new slides #16 - 18 showing Intel desktop full runs supply by week not including Xeon HEDT, Haswell through Alder current ship with AMD Ryzen desktop over lay. Production volume, market share and channel supply share are stated.

    https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/5030701-mike-br...

    Mike Bruzzone, Camp Marketing
    Reply

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